Ex-Bengals HC Marvin Lewis: Andy Dalton Will Be an Asset 'Wherever He Ends Up'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Friday longtime Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton can be an "asset" to any NFL team, especially one with a young QB to develop.

Dalton was released by Cincinnati on Thursday after the organization selected Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft to become its new franchise signal-caller. His former coach spoke to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk about the three-time Pro Bowler.

"He's extremely smart, prepared, ready to go," Lewis said. "By lunchtime on Tuesday, he had the opponent down pat. He'll be a good aide for a young guy and if something happens, he'll be ready to go.”

He added: "Wherever he ends up, he'll be an asset."

Dalton started 133 games across nine seasons with the Bengals. Lewis, who's a co-defensive coordinator at Arizona State, was the team's head coach for the first eight years of the quarterback's tenure.

The 32-year-old TCU product was an average option under center—he ranks 19th among active QBs in career passer rating (87.5)—but did have some strong seasons. His best statistical campaign came in 2015 when he ranked second in passer rating (106.2) and third in ESPN's Total QBR (72.5).

Dalton is confident he'll find the right situation despite not hitting the free-agent market until after the initial wave of signings and the draft.

"We're ready for the next phase," he told reporters. "I'm going to check out all my options and make the best decision for me and my family. It's going to work out."

ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported the Jacksonville Jaguars are "absolutely interested" in Dalton.

The Jags would fit Lewis' description of where his former quarterback would thrive. They have a young signal-caller in Gardner Minshew II, but they don't have a proven backup after dealing veteran Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears. Joshua Dobbs and Jake Luton are the team's other signal-callers.

Minshew deserves an opportunity to start after an impressive rookie season that saw him tally 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in 14 games (12 starts).

Dalton could provide guidance to the 23-year-old Mississippi native, and he's more than capable of taking over the starting role if needed.

The New England Patriots, who are looking to fill the void left by Tom Brady, are another potential landing spot for Dalton.